Sunday, 5 June 2011

Burnley - Turf Moor

9th May 2010

Burnley 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur

This Premiership match was Son’s sweetener in return for having to endure the Chesterfield v Bournemouth match the previous day – he does not do the Coca-Cola Leagues, apparently.  We had seen Spurs at Everton a few months earlier and had enjoyed superb entertainment, abetted in no small way by the Londoners’ defensive frailties.  Surely we would not be so fortunate a second time.

Despite the A646 portion of the drive seemingly taking forever, winding as it did through a selection of almost archtypical Yorkshire and Lancashire towns and villages, we arrived in Burnley with time enough to spare to go and listen to The Singing Ringing Tree.  No bears, scary dwarves or bug-eyed fish here, just a series of galvanised steel pipes arranged in such a manner as to catch the wind and hence “play” music.  Or at least produce a series of sounds which could be recognised as such.  Such was the theory, anyway.  There was no shortage of wind up on the Pennines today, but the structure was disappointingly silent.  But it was well worth the trip if only for the panoramic view which included Burnley itself and, if you knew where to look, our eventual destination Turf Moor.

Son attempts to work out how to switch the thing on.

I suppose you could call this a panoramic view of Turf Moor.

In case anyone needed reminding.

The main entrance to the ground.

Burnley had been relegated two weeks before so, for the home support, this was really just an opportunity to celebrate the club’s brief adventure in the Premiership, but for Spurs there was very much all to play for.  An away win, coupled with a defeat for Arsenal, would propel Tottenham into a third place finish, negating the need for a Champions League qualifying round the following season.

And Spurs certainly began the match as if they meant business, Gareth BALE putting them ahead before 3 minutes had elapsed.  Peter Crouch then headed a corner-kick over the top when he really should have scored, before Luca MODRIC made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute, whacking a left-footer past Brian Jensen, after having made a monkey of Steven Caldwell.  Burnley, outclassed and outplayed, but encouraged by the home support who never stopped willing their team on, fashioned a goal back just before the break through Wade ELLIOTT.

Luca MODRIC about to whupp Spurs 2-0 up.

Now, quite what happened at the break is an utter mystery to me still, for Burnley came out and just ran over the top of Spurs.  Twas as if the highly-rated, highly-paid Champions League-bound performers lost interest, or had been replaced by inferior look-alikes.  The fact that Arsenal were winning at half-time may have contributed to their apparent indifference, and also there is no doubt Burnley upped their game considerably, but the way Spurs collapsed in the second period was alarming to say the least.  Aaron Lennon did hit a post, but that was about it from Spurs as an attacking force.  Jack CORK headed Burnley level in the 54th minute with both Ledley King and Michael Dawson posted missing, before a quarter of an hour later Steven Fletcher picked out Martin PATERSON, and Burnley were 3-2 up.  Substitute Steven THOMSON got a toe to a shot from Elliott with 2 minutes remaining, and the grins on the home fans around me looked more Cheshire than Lancashire.  Thus did Burnley say Farewell to the Premiership on a considerable high.

A word on the programme, called the Claret and You.  This was 76 page job, chock full of interesting historical articles, and undoubtedly the best I have come across.  Take a bow, editor Darren Bentley.  The publication also included a reproduction of the match programme from 50 years previously (almost to the day) when Burnley clinched their last league title at Manchester City in 1960.  All for just £1.  Other clubs should hang their heads in shame.    

Panorama of Turf Moor, Burnley.


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